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Spirit Lake voters reject PPEL initiative

By Staff | Mar 20, 2008

SPIRIT LAKE — Voters in the Spirit Lake School District, by an unofficial vote of 773-527, on Tuesday rejected a Physical Plant and Equipment Levy (PPEL) proposal. A simple majority vote would have passed the PPEL referendum.

School officials had hoped the tax-driven levy — not to exceed $1.34 per $1,000 of assessed valuation — would infuse revenues into the district, which is facing a shortfall of about $1 million.

As a result, the school board will meet in special session at 8 p.m. on Wednesday in the Spirit Lake High School gym to deal with budget-cutting issues. Superintendent Doug Latham had said the board would be prepared to make more fiscal cuts if the PPEL vote failed.

School board president Beth Will said on Tuesday the special meeting will be an extension of the organization’s on-going discussions about the budget. “The board has been working with a document that lists about 50 budget-cutting ideas,” Will said. “Public comment has also been a part of the process.”

“We’ve drawn two lines in the sand,” Latham said on Tuesday. “If we don’t have PPEL money, we’ll be back to looking at deeper cuts in the budget.” After examining fiscal reductions and listening to public input, the school board will certify its budget at the April 14 meeting.